Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Hardest Thing



"Imagine that you're an actor on Broadway and you're in a hit show like, say, 'Cats' or 'Wicked.' "

Wicked. Bailey whispers the title and squirms in her seat because she saw "Wicked" on Broadway.

Bailey is one of the few in our school or in our club who has seen a show on Broadway. Bailey is one of the few in our school or in our club who has seen a show anywhere.

These kids can do Shakespeare but, for the majority of them, their experience of watching professional actors at work has been on television or in movies. So, they're not really going to get what I'm about to tell them; some professional actors can't accept it either, and there you have it. I forge ahead.

"Let's say that hit Broadway show you're in is such a gigantic success that it runs for a year. Or two years. Or ten years."

Broadway. Yeah, that would be Bailey again, whispering her dreams for anyone who would like to hear.

"This is the toughest challenge for a theatre actor: keeping it fresh."

I let that sit with them. They're quiet. They're trying hard to understand what I mean and I appreciate their effort.

"How do you as an actor...oh, let's say Bailey, for example...how do you, Bailey, hear for the first time — every time — the news that you could die if you don't obey your father?"

Bailey squints.

"How do all you mechanicals see Bottom as a donkey for the first time, every time, with the same shock?"

Peter tilts his head.


"You will be performing this play four times on one single day, and you will get tired. You may even get bored, but every time you do this play, out there in the audience will be at least one person seeing a play for the first time. It's your job to keep it fresh and brand new for that person or they may never, ever come back to the theatre again."

Oliver nods.

"That's it. That's the hardest job an actor has and we'll see if you're up for it. What d'ya think?"

We can do it, claims Dominick.

"I believe you can."


CHILDREN'S WRITES: A Journal Entry
If I was a groundling at a play and tought it was bad I would throw roten fruit and rocks at the actors and say Boo and leave.

If I was King I would eat KFC, stake and vegtables and potatoes for diner. My name would be onoying Orange the 8th. I would have a super bounce tramplean. My rules are have fun or you would go to jail. If you shot a gun at someone you would be arested.
—Peter, 3rd grade

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